Catching up

Phaedra continues until, halfway to Blessed Seahaven, she sees another group in the distance. This time it’s the kua-toas, slowly leading a large group of slaves. The other Xaniqos catch up with their scout sister and hastily confer. Alvra receives instructions to take out the whip, preferably without killing her, and, empowered by the faith in her deity, Lilith casts a shield spell on her sister and brothers. Then they rush forward. When the kua-toas realize that they’re being followed, two turn around, accompanied by a whip. The others continue towards the city with the slaves.

Kua-Toas

Phaedra and Alvra take the lead, while the wizard grabs a piece of tentacle from his pouch, and starts waving his hands. Suddenly a field of rubbery black tentacles appears, trapping the slave group that is further away from them. The foremost monitors charge full speed at the Xaniqos. Their attacks are not that strong, but they cause all muscles to cramp up. The drow counter with earth elementals, darkfire spells, sword and spiked chain, while the tentacles do their ghastly job. The kua-toa whip tries to heal the ones around her, but Jharrath’s fire ball undoes her efforts. More spells sizzle back and forth, enforced by magic missiles. Kua-toas and slaves drop under the onslaught of the Xaniqos attack. When the second whip and one of the monitors are about to escape the tentacles, Jharrath dismisses his spell and the drow go after them. Alvra grapples with the whip, gets back on his feet and tries to relieve her of her nasty pincer staff. Meanwhile the monitor tries to decide which image of Phaedra is the real scout. His bite attacks are matched by her formidable spiked chain. A slash of living black fire spurts from the cleric’s hands and ends the life of the second whip.

140629Kua

The remaining kua-toa hisses in Undercommon:

Get away, you stupid creatures. Shar will kill you all, feel her power!

and with divine force attacks the fighter drow. Alvra tries forcing his way through her, but she manages to step aside. With the help of a piece of jade, his brother summons a hail of stone, and says threateningly:

It is in your best interest to surrender. Lay down your weapon and tell your minion to do the same.

The whip complies while the last monitor is still trying to get his claws on Phaedra, but who also hesitantingly stops his attack. She tells them that Vuon is the leader of Blessed Seahaven, while the venerable Flesh peddler is the spokesman for House Vae. Apparently House Vae is getting paid to step aside, allowing the Shar’ans to buy slaves for sacrifice purposes. It might be the old man we saw, ponders Alvra. Phaedra, fed up with the defiant whip, offers her a choice between a quick and a slow death.

Why all the secrecy, whip?

The creature just stares back at Lilith, full of hatred. She then takes out a piece of parchment.

This might be more valuable to you than my life. It’s a prophecy, but it’s not deciphered yet.

150131parchment

When the whip refuses to hand over the parchment to the drow party, clearly not convinced the right terms were agreed upon for her safety, Alvra, seeing the frustration of his sisters, in a whirl of movement grabs it and runs off, calling up his innate ability of darkness. The monitor runs after the fighter to intercept him, but a bolt of Phaedra’s crossbow embeds itself deeply into its side, hampering its movement. Suddenly an even deeper darkness settles over the Xaniqos siblings, conjured by the kua-toan whip. And when Lilith dispells this deeper darkness the whip and monitor are gone. Only Phaedra is still able to see the two kua-toas, and she pursues at full speed.

The scout overtakes and awaits the whip, spiked chain in hand, and the monitor, who was already further ahead, returns to defend his mistress. With a flick of her wrist, Phaedra’s chain rips the whip’s feet out from under her, and the kua-toa topples forward, losing her pincer staff. When the creature tries to get up, Phaedra hits her, and she stays down… for good. Magic missiles and searing lights end the life of the fleeing monitor.

Since Jharrath has no knowledge yet on the parchment, Alvra hands it to his eldest sister for safe keeping. The drow search the bodies and take two magical pincer staffs, cloaks of resistance, rings of protection, the monitor monks’ amulets (it turns out to be an amulet for unarmored attack, ‘mighty fist’), and several healing and other potions home with them, after Jharrath has torched the remains to destroy all evidence. They arrive at House Xaniqos without further incidents. The guards tell them that the Matron Mother immediately wants a full report. Accompanied by her wizard brother, Lilith goes to oblige her mother. After the report, she shows her mother the parchment.

150207prophecy

This is more serious than I thought, this is a drow prophecy. Over six hundred years ago, a war raged in the Underdark, drow against drow. I don’t know enough about this prophecy, but I do know that there are dark times ahead. Only a few people might know about this. Lilith, tomorrow you will try to get an audience with our arch mage Anybys Velifane. See what she can tell you about it. This is a delicate matter, perhaps we should take it to the council. It might explain the secrecy of the whip. Go and rest. I will keep this prophecy for now, you can get it back tomorrow. Perhaps K’yorl has any knowledge on it too.

Will this affect our relationship with House Vae?

Lady Thandysha ponders on Jharrath’s question.

I don’t know, it is too early to say. But I don’t like it one bit!

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